Environmental Health Criteria No 124
World Health Organization
ISBN-13    9789241571241 ISBN-10    9241571241
Order Number    11600124   
Price    CHF    37.00 / US$    44.40 Developing countries:    CHF    37.00
English     1991        208   pages
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Evaluates the risks to human health and the environment posed by lindane, an isomer of hexachlorocyclohexane used, for more than four decades, as a broad-spectrum insecticide. Although most lindane is used in agriculture for the treatment of seeds and soils, other important applications include the protection of wood and timber, the treatment of veterinary ectoparasites, and the treatment of scabies and body lice in humans.
Concerning sources and levels of human exposure, the report cites residues in food as responsible for more than 90% of human exposure, noting that populations throughout the world are exposed to lindane on a daily basis. From the large number of studies that have measured levels in food, the report is able to conclude that such exposures are already below the acceptable daily intake and are gradually decreasing.
The assessment of effects on human health benefits from the large number of recent, well-designed studies conducted in both experimen-tal test systems and a range of different laboratory species and strains. These studies support the conclusion that dietary intake of lindane, at currently measured levels, will not impair the health of the general population, nursing infants, or toddlers. Citing evidence from well-designed studies of exposed workers, the report further concludes that, under normal conditions of use, lindane poses no short- or long-term threats to the health of workers. Reports of severe toxic symptoms following the use of lindane to treat scabies underscore the need for strict adherence to prescribed doses, especially when treating children. Concerning risks to organisms in the environment, the report notes that lindane, even when applied at recommended rates, is highly toxic for bats and should thus be regarded as a major environmental hazard wherever bats might roost on lindane-treated wood.